By Jan Carlo Anolin
Were it not for the problems faced by the San Miguel Beermen with their explosive import Dez Wells, it would have been a different story in this season’s PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.
Alfrancis Chua, San Miguel Corporation sports director and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel governor, said Wells’ exit took its toll on the Beermen as the coveted Grand Slam eluded them once again.
And Ginebra got the better of San Miguel.
“Nagkaproblema sa import e. Kung ‘yung import siguro si Wells pa rin, ibang usapan ‘yon dahil magaling yung import.” Chua told the Manila Bulletin Saturday during the PBA Governors’ Cup pre-Finals press conference at Sambo Kojin in Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City.
“Kaso nagkaproblema ‘yung import [at] ‘yun ang nangyari.”
Wells, posting at least 30 or 40 points in the first four games, suffered an ankle injury as ensuing events followed and doomed the team.
Beermen Kelly Nabong, Arwind Santos, Ronald Tubid and Wells figured in a fight during practice and SMB had no choice but to send the import home while the three locals were suspended indefinitely.
In the quarterfinals, Ginebra delivered the final blow with a 100-97 victory over San Miguel as the Beermen kissed their Grand Slam bid goodbye.
History actually repeated itself since it was also Ginebra which denied SMB a Grand Slam in 2017.
“Maybe talagang hindi para sa kanila or hindi naka-prepare nang maayos. Sayang for the Grand Slam,” Chua said. “Lahat naman gustong mag-Grand Slam pero again, to get the Grand Slam, you can’t take it lightly. Kailangan talagang makapag-prepare, kailangang handang- handa ‘yung team mo.”
Chua believes Ginebra emerged as the ‘better prepared’ team and was hungrier for another title.
That said, Chua excused himself from further talks about SMB’s failed Grand Slam bid, shifting to the current situation instead as Ginebra faces the Meralco Bolts for the third straight time in the season-ending conference starting Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The two teams will heat up the brewing ‘rivalry’ and Chua expects no less than a ‘very good’ Final series.
“It’s gonna be a very good series, for sure. Gigil ‘yung kabila, itong kabila gigil din. Yung kabila (Meralco) gusto talunin [ang Ginebra] kasi 2-0 [sa Finals].
“Pero ‘yung Ginebra naman hindi nila pwedeng i-take lightly kasi iba na ‘yung lineup nung dalawa kesa dati. Mas malakas sila ngayon so para sa ‘kin it’s not about ‘2-0.’ Back to 0-0 ‘to,” Chua said.